Friday, 26 October 2007

shiny things!

25102007(001)Just to prove that we are able to leave the house occasionally, despite having a small child, here is a picture of our HORRENDOUSLY expensive new kettle, purchased in Welshpool yesterday. You may remember* some time ago I went through a phase of exterminating kettles right left and centre. We went through four in about as many months, largely due to me overfilling them and fusing them if they were electric; or me not putting the whistle-thingy tightly enough on the spout and it ricocheting off when it started to boil instead of whistling tunefully if they were stove-top ones; or us making the mistake of purchasing one without a whistle.

Anyway. Earlier this week it happened again. This time, it was because we had bought a really cheap kettle, due to a realistic assessment of my ability to care for them properly; and it started to leak, usefully, just above where the plug goes in the back.

So. We plodded on regardless for a couple of days with water dripping down in to the socket; and then we thought we should do something about it. Isn't it beautiful? It's all shiny and lovely. It's also incredibly heavy and therefore suitable for being used on a rayburn**. And it comes with a lifetime guarantee, which is what swung it for us. No whistle. But hell, you can't have everything - it takes six pints. SIX PINTS! That's potentially SIX PINTS OF TEA.

25102007(002)In other news, Leo is settling down to being out in the world - he still keeps regurgitating his feeds but he's putting on weight, so nothing too terrible is going on. He's growing out of his 0-3 months clothes already; cloth nappies = big bottoms :). He does have a distressing tendency to look like Nosferatu when he's got the sicky cloth tucked under his chin, though. Or possibly Charles Laughton as Henry VIII.

This afternoon he slept in the pram for four hours, whilst we planted up the winter window boxes and troughs - pansies, primulas and bulbs. This is a major step forward for us as we are usually doing it around Christmas***. We also got some of the garlic in - saved from last year's crop. It's a bit early, traditionally speaking - you are supposed to plant it on the shortest day and harvest it on the longest ... but better early than not at all - in this case, 'better late than never' is actually not true because if you plant it late you've wasted it. I therefore feel quite smug.

26102007(003)Over the weekend I am going to see if I can get some peas and carrots and lettuce in, in the greenhouse. We also have friends coming to help us start our Great DIY Plan, of which more next week, with photos, if I don't get crushed under a falling wall. And tomorrow we are collecting a shower cubicle that we scored from Freecycle; and, possibly, getting some more chickens. [cough].

We've also got some horse-muck lined up to collect from a very long-suffering Freecycler who offered it to us a fortnight ago ... but it requires careful timing and a large plastic sheet in the back of the car, so I don't think it will happen before the end of next week.

* Pretty unlikely, don't feel bad if you don't ... :)
** Currently a Rayburn Of The Mind, but it's outside and it will be coming in eventually, if the Furies are kind.
*** Of which we do not speak, until at least early December.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

message from the front


Is that okay?

Thursday, 11 October 2007


It's been my third day and late night in the last fortnight without B being here.

I've coped okay up to now, if you discount the day he came home at 9.30pm and I insisted on taking L to the out of hours doctor's service because his breathing was rattling*.

Today, Mrs Doubtfire the Doula came for three hours this morning - she cleans the kitchen floor even if there's no mouse blood on it, did I say? And I went back to bed for a couple of hours sleep. I don't feel great in my head - hormones I think, but I do feel I'm struggling a bit.

I want to thank everyone who sent me information and experiences regarding breast-feeding. I would also like to say that I am really, really impressed with the service our local midwives offer - basically they have a twenty-four hour breast-feeding call-out service for the fortnight after you give birth. They are also linked to a La Leche group in Welshpool - I think that some of them must be La Leche trained as the implication is that they helped set up the group and mentored some of the women now running it.

Anyway, call me a wimp, but I have drawn a line under the boob-feeding. Not really for pain-related reasons, more for head-related reasons. L was taking so long to feed - basically latching on and then staying on for hours if I let him - and I was getting so wound up about it all, thinking I wasn't giving him enough to eat because he was crying all the time - that it was doing my mental health and well-being no good whatsoever.

I stuck it for nearly three weeks, so he's had a start from me, and now he's happily on the bottle and B and I are sharing the feeding, which is wonderful. Perhaps if/when we have another baby, it will go better. The health-care people we've been involved with - the consultant, the health-visitor, the midwives, the GP - have all been really, really supportive about our choices; and we are happy. I feel a bit guilty. But at the end of the day I need to do what is best for me; and this is it.

There are two things that I am unhappy about - i) the exhaustion. Hey, that's great, isn't it! And ii) the fact that everything seems to take four times longer than it used to. Partly due to i) the exhaustion. But it's all down to planning a bit better. Not a strong point of either B or me, as people who know us in real life (tm) will know.

I still haven't planted my winter lettuce, but I have pulled out half the tomatoes and have the green tomatoes sat in a bowl in the kitchen ready to make in to chutney. Tomorrow, we are taking L for his cranio-sacral appointment and then we are staying with Kate and Vic for the night. I am really nervous about it - not the actual staying over, staying with Ma was no problem at all - but because of the Kate-related trauma a couple of weeks ago.

I might go and make chutney now. L is sleeping. More after the weekend. If we survive.

* He was fine, just the echoing-baby-mucus-in-the-throat thing. On the other hand, the lovely out of hours doctor took one look at me, put her hand on my arm and said (imagine Irish accent) "And now my dear, what about you?" and I promptly burst in to tears.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

of mice, night feeds and tomato chutney

We are doing alright, I think.

The nights are a bit patchy - Leo seems to sleep in four or five hour chunks, which is great - but he does take a couple of hours to go back to sleep in the early hours. That's okay - we have a kind-of-routine sorted which allows for it. And on the advice of Mrs Doubtfire the doula we have found*, we have got a bath-bottle-bed routine that gets him to sleep at about seven. He wakes up about eleven for another feed/nappy change and again at some point between three and five, depending on how good we've been at getting him back to sleep earlier on.

We have been doing a lot of travelling round this week - we've been taking him to see a cranio-sacral therapist on the Wirral to help with his feeding. I will do a separate post about this, as after I mentioned feeding in my last post I have had loads of responses re the pros and cons of breast-feeding that have been really useful and I'd like to address it in a bit more depth.

We had our first overnight visitors on Friday and Saturday (*waves*) - it worked really well. B is just doing the washing up and the recycling and then we are going to go up and spend a couple of hours in the garden. The greenhouse needs the tomatoes pulling out and I want to gather the green ones for chutney. And the chickens need cleaning out REALLY badly - we are going to take the carry-cot up and put it in the greenhouse and hope that Leo stays asleep. Or at least wakes up and is prepared to help ... .

I should add that B is going to do most of the actual work, because I'm still a bit fragile and the midwife gave me a bit of a talking to about lifting stuff and the possibility of having a 'flood' if I do too much. Since I'd already had one by that point I have actually taken heed of what she said.

Next post - either about feeding or about green tomato chutney and the greenhouse and winter lettuce. I'll see how I feel.

* Three hours a morning for three mornings a week - washing, kitchen-cleaning, hoovering, looking after the baby whilst we sleep or do office work. I was a bit in two minds about getting her in to start with, but I am really relieved that we decided to, now. It does feel very strange having someone cleaning up after us though. And I was really embarrassed about the embalmed mouse she found in the mouse-trap beside the washing machine. It had clearly been there WEEKS and had gone all sort of dessicated and fluffy.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

and then she touched my breast ...

27092007(001)And then she touched my breast ...

... or 101 reasons why you shouldn't invite your mother-in-law to stay two days after you give birth.

Firstly, thank you SO MUCH everyone, for all your good wishes and good thoughts. I have finally got logged on this morning* and caught up with all the comments and emails. We are both slightly stunned and very, very touched by the number of people who have delurked and wished us well. Thank you all so much, we both feel that we have made so many friends via the internet; some of whom we have never met and possibly never will. I am slightly sniffly writing this and it's not all the hormones :).

Well, I guess the drama is all over now, and it feels odd blogging about it a fortnight afterwards.
The labour and the first week were pretty rough. I have written about it all and I might post it a bit later on when things have settled in my mind. Suffice to say it was thirty-six hours from when the induction started to when Leo actually appeared, the last six hours of which were without pain relief, with him stuck the wrong way round (ie, back to back with me) and me not really able to move around very much because of the symphis pubis condition. They eventually tried a ventous, which slipped off; and they ended up using forceps.

We were both very tired and a bit beaten up and it's really taken all this time for both of us to recover - not having the internet or the phone for so long has, I suppose, given us a chance to do just that.
He is beautiful.

I am having trouble feeding him because my nipples are so sore - so we are 'topping him up' with formula after each feed and I am going to start expressing I think - only I feel a bit weird about it, as if I have udders. We are going to have to see how that works out. I seem to cry all the time I am feeding him - emotion mostly, but also because it's so uncomfortable. I have also conceived the bizarre idea that he is going to be taken away from me and given to someone else to look after.

I am aware that that is an irrational thought and mostly I am managing it - it just creeps up on me when I'm tired and makes me really angry. Unfortunately it's main focus is Kate, B's mother. She came to visit and look after the house for a few days after Leo was born and she was so excited that she wanted to be with him all the time. Her boundaries became pretty blurred and she was coming in and out of our bedroom whilst I was naked and actually picked my breast up and tried to put it in his mouth whilst I was trying to get him to latch on.18092007(007)

Not helpful.

Things are okay with her now, though - we asked her to go home a bit early and are taking things slowly with her.

Pa news - he is better in himself, from the stomach bleed, the three infections and the d &v on the ward. However, he now has a clot in his leg and is on a heparin drip to sort that out. Presumably they are then going to get him back on warfrin with a view to discharging him to home, because they don't think the physios can help him any more - he still can't walk. He is very 'turned down' and quite vague and sleepy all the time. He is also refusing to eat very much. We went down at the weekend (military operation, but worked quite well), and at least I feel that I've seen him.

More later. I've MISSED blogging :).

* House news - the move fell through the day before we wanted to complete. We are staying put for a while we think, our heads are too full for anything else at the moment. The reason for the bloggage delay is that we were incredibly organised and transferred all the internet and phone services to the 'new' house. And it has taken them this long to reconnect everything, because, it transpires, they were trying to reconnect them to the wrong house. Oooops.